Collect Thumbnails in a Contact Sheet with the Adobe Output Manager

Contact sheets serve the same purpose as thumbnails or previews in Bridge or the Open dialog box or thumbnail images on a web page — they show which image is which. Hard copy contact sheets are useful to present to a client. Bridge can automate the process for you in the Output panel by generating a PDF that contains small copies of each image in a folder. Here's the procedure:

1

Select the thumbnails of the images you want to include.

Hint: You must select the images; you can’t select only the folder. Bridge automatically skips any non-image files that are selected.

2

Select an appropriate page size in the Document area.

Choose from among the presets or define a custom size. If the contact sheets will be printed, use a paper size. If they're intended only for on-screen display, select a size from the web presets.

Elect to generate high-quality or low-quality thumbnails and pick a background color. (Black is beautiful and makes your images "snap," but also uses a lot more ink when printing.) You can also require a password to open the document or forbid printing the contact sheets.

3

Define your layout.

In the Layout section, you choose how many thumbnails you want in each row and column. You can choose to have the images added to the page row by row (the second image is to the right of the first) or column by column (the second image is directly below the first).

You can also define the spacing between thumbnails, but the Use Auto-Spacing option is almost always a safe choice. You can also elect to auto-rotate images so that, regardless of orientation, all the images are the same size. Do not select Repeat One Photo per Page when generating contact sheets. (With that option selected, instead of contact sheets you'll have pages with multiple copies of one image).

If your folder is filled with portrait-oriented images, you can certainly have more columns than rows so that each image better fills the area allotted for it. For example, when printing 20 portrait images, using 5 columns and 4 rows produces larger printed images than using 4 columns and 5 rows.

4

Choose whether to use the filename as a caption.

In the Overlays section, you can elect to use the filename as a caption, with or without the file extension. If you use this option, be sure not to choose a font size too large to fit within the space allocated for each thumbnail! You can also add a page number in the header or footer of each document.

5

Add a watermark, header, or footer (or nothing).

You also have the option of adding a watermark, but if it’s splashed across the middle of the page, it might serve little purpose. You can, however, add a line of text (your copyright info or a logo image, for example) across each image as a bit of protection.

More appropriate for a contact sheet might be a header or footer identifying you as the photographer and perhaps mentioning the copyright status of your images, as well as a page number (selected in the Overlay section).

6

Preview and save.

Click the Refresh Preview button (to get a look at what you're creating, make any changes necessary, and then click the Save button. You next see a dialog box in which you name the document (Bridge automatically adds the .pdf file extension) and choose a location in which to save. Bridge creates a multi-page PDF, generating as many pages as necessary to hold all of the selected thumbnails.

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